Sony 135mm f1.8 or new Sigma 100-400mm + Sony 85mm?

Started 4 months ago | Polls thread
PWPhotography Forum Pro • Posts: 10,632
Re: Sony 135mm f1.8 or new Sigma 100-400mm + Sony 85mm?

tonyz1 wrote:

Jeff2013 wrote:

I own all three, but never use the 100-400 for portrait photography.

The real jewel is the GM 135 (on the RIV); however, you mentioned indoor portraits, for which 135mm might be a bit long... which leaves the 85mm.

If you are a pixel peeper (or crop a lot), I have found the Sigma 85mm ART to be noticeably sharper than the several copies of the GM 85mm I owned. The LenRentals MTF graphs verify this.

For convenience in street and travel photography, I use the Sony 85mm f1.8 (they can be had very cheaply on the used market).

Yeah I just grabbed a Sony 85mm f1.8 for street. I think I might end up grabbing the Sigma 135mm to save a few bucks when it comes up for sale again. It's not much bigger but a lot cheaper than the Sony version from what I can tell.

Sigma 135 Art is heavier 1130 g over 135 GM at 950 g that itself is not light and small. Unless you must need f1.8, Zeiss Batis 135/2.8 (that has OSS) is a great option in traveling. Many including myself sold Batis to exchange for 135 GM so you can grab in bargain around $1K or even a bit less these days. For landscape that usually you stop down a bit, honestly I have not seen much difference in sharpness but Batis 135 is much lighter at 614 g that is significantly lighter. I carried it into two trips. The lens also has Zeiss trademark color rendering. Then it has OSS that helps in low-light hand-held photos, effectively compensate 1+1/3 stop disadvantage over 135 GM or Sigma 135 Art.

For 85mm I have Rokinon FE 85/1.4 AF and Loxia 85/2.4 that complement each other. Loxia 85 is also very sharp (neck to neck to CV 65 in my side by side test) and generates beautiful 10-point sunstar and pleasing Zeiss color rendering, much prefer in landscape/cityscape photos.

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Honestly don't see much softer or even noticeable softer than 135 GM at respective wide open. I use Lensrentals or any studio test for a reference that might not reflect that obviously in real-world photos. I applied the default +40 sharpening in Lr in all above photos as reflect how I process in reality.

I was going to skip the 135mm f1.8 in general as a category but I do think I want some lenses that deliver unique results and it's definitely one of them.

Bunch of such lenses, such as Sigma 105/1.4 Art that has more pleasing bokeh actually but heavy as a tank. Honestly 135mm prime is not very versatile to me. In reality I only want to carry one of these lenses in mostly landscape trips - 135 GM, 100-400 GM and 70-200 GM or likely potential EF 70-200L/4.0 IS II (after sold FE 70-200 G). Zoom just has much better versatility than a fixed prime. Sharpness is not everything to be honest. Those zoom after stop down in landscape type photos are sharp enough even on A7r IV. Just don't want to over-exaggerate 135 GM, or any lenses as having some magic power, such as on bizarre claim that it beats 70-200 GM after cropped to 200mm. In my test, it's not that IQ after cropped to 200mm succumbed to entire APS-C IQ spectrum - resolution/sharpness, DR and high ISO.

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